Amazon uses old school snail mail to make sure the sellers in its market really live where they say they do.
After asking third parties in September to publish their company names and addresses, Amazon is now making sure that their addresses are authentic and correct. To that end, the company began shipping postcards to third party vendors selling on its US market to verify their addresses. This came out from an email verified by CNBC.
“As part of our commitment to providing a safe and trustworthy shopping experience for our customers and distributors, we need to verify the business address displayed on your Amazon.com seller profile page,” the email said. Traders will not do this to prevent the platform from selling while their address is being verified.
This is what the postcards look like:
Amazon sends postcards like this one to third party providers to verify the address given in their profile.
There is a confirmation code on the postcard, which sellers must enter on an internal portal. Here, the recipient’s address and verification code have been hidden to protect their identity.
Amazon confirmed to CNBC that it started testing the initiative with new sellers last year, and then brought in some existing sellers earlier this year. The company is now planning to expand the initiative further. Three third-party vendors told CNBC that Amazon informed them this week that they would soon receive a postcard that they could use to verify their address.
“We use a combination of advanced machine learning capabilities, robust verification and skilled human investigators to protect our customers and distributors from bad actors and bad products,” an Amazon spokesman said in a statement. “As soon as a seller is allowed to sell in our store, we continue to monitor their account and behavior for new risks.
“We are constantly innovating in this area to stay ahead of bad actors and their attempts to bypass our controls,” added the spokesman.
How the verification process works
First, Amazon will contact a seller and inform them that the company needs to verify their business address. Merchants then check and confirm their business address in an internal seller portal called Seller Central. Once that’s done, Amazon will send a postcard to sellers that will arrive in a few days.
The postcard has a verification code that sellers must enter into Seller Central based on a CNBC-verified copy of the postcard. Sellers have 60 days to verify their address. If they fail to do so, Amazon may withhold funds from the sellers’ accounts.
Amazon blocks all accounts that have an illegal address. And if a seller’s postcard is lost in the mail, Amazon can request a new one to be sent to their address.
Last fall, the company urged retailers in its U.S. market to publicly disclose their company name and address to make it easier for consumers to verify these sellers and their products before buying.
Amazon operates online marketplaces in more than a dozen regions, but the largest is in the United States. As of March, Amazon had more than 6 million third-party sellers worldwide, more than half of which were reportedly sold on Amazon in North America’s Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce research company.
Before the new policy went into effect in September, consumers could click on a seller’s profile to review buyer feedback, view their satisfaction rating, and contact the seller with any questions.
However, there was no easy way to determine where the seller was based or what legal entity was selling the product, unless consumers were shopping on Amazon marketplaces in Europe, Mexico and Japan, where sellers had their company names and names on them for a long time need to provide their address. due to local laws.
As Amazon has grown into one of the largest e-commerce providers in the world, it has built a huge third-party marketplace made up of millions of companies selling their goods. Third-party sales make up more than half of Amazon’s sales. However, the sprawling size of the market has opened the company to a number of issues, including the proliferation of counterfeit, unsafe, and expired goods.
Listing seller information in the US, as well as verifying that it is correct via the postcards, could be effective measures to help Amazon drive more bad actors off the platform. Google also sends out postcards to check company addresses on Google Maps and other properties.
For example, it has become a common tactic for merchants to create multiple accounts to continue selling on the platform after being banned by Amazon, which is against Amazon’s seller policies. If a seller has dozens of accounts, they’ll need to display a unique business address for each account and verify that the address is real.
“It may be the only way to answer the question, ‘Is the address you gave us to an address you can access?'” Said Juozas Kaziukenas, CEO and founder of Marketplace Pulse. Otherwise, a seller can enter any address and there is no way to answer the same question, especially for international sellers. Amazon needs bank statements and other documents for new sellers with an address that is the same as the one you provided Case go further, and for old sellers. “